At the onset of October, Wife bought three pumpkins for the older girls’ school projects. Observing the child to pumpkin ratio, you might see a few children were not carving pumpkins this year. Their grandmother also saw this fact, and could not bear any of her grandchildren missing out on the Halloween tradition. Planning to give all the children part of the season’s festivities, she bought the rest of the children pumpkins. And while she visited with her daughter, I found myself elbow deep in pumpkin guts. Continue reading
Halloween had come and passed. Our house was inundated with candy, and the bits of costumes Wife has not yet put away. We have had two bonks on heads with a bow, a good smack with a spear, one nasty headbutt that was fueled by too much candy, and one little boy who could not get the bow off his head. The Halloween celebration has come to a close, but the preparation started weeks ago. Continue reading
How do you explain to the children not to say “Trick or Treat” at a funeral? The house where the wake was at, was where they had Trick-or-Treated for all but one year of their lives. Luckily for Wife and I, they all had a good understanding that we were there for the reception after the funeral. However, #5 was very excited when he recognized the house and announced to us with all the pride due to a great discovery, “Hey mom, hey dad, this is the place we go for Halloween!”
The children were all dressed in their Sunday best to morn the loss and celebrate the life of Art, a very long lived family friend. My children have known Art and his wife Pat their whole lives, but beyond that so did I. But before I knew Art and Pat, my father grew up with them as close as an uncle and aunt. The affections of Art and Pat spanned multiple generations.
Somehow, and I was too young to know how it happened, Halloween became Art and Pat’s holiday. While Halloween for many is a night about candy or alcohol, for us ever since I can remember, it was about Art and Pat; and the same could be said about my children.
Art would meet us at the door in some goofy orange tee shirt that read “This Is My Costume” and would immediately begin to offer his famous chili. You could not turn down his chili. Not only was it that good, but by the time he was done talking to you about it, you weren’t quite sure whether it was the same recipe Lewis and Clark used on their journey across the continent, or if it was carried down father to son from before the fall of Rome. And as you chewed you wondered just how old those beans were. Art’s tall tales were endless.
Pat is just one of the sweetest ladies a person could meet. Art on the other hand, well, I always felt that my children just didn’t know what to do with him. If jokes are a sign of a well formed personality, then Art’s was formed by the most talented sculptor. I remember once, many years ago, when Art introduced a man to me as his long lost twin brother separated at birth and newly discovered yesterday over a scotch on the rocks. I believe I just stood there in stunned silence not quite sure if my silence was rude, or if he was telling one of his tall tales. I have since seen my children react the same when he put the same kind of proposals before them.
My father always loved the two like a second set of parents. To tell the truth, it was years before I realized that Art and Pat were in no way related. Of course it was some time in my childhood before I knew which was Art and which Pat, after all they were both boy names as far as I could tell. My children would have had the same trouble had not Wife made sure they knew who was who.
At the wake, family and friends shared Art stories like those above; and like everyone else, I reminisced too. I think his favorite phrase, or at least the one he seemed to repeat the most was, “Life, no matter how long, is too short to be taken seriously.” As I watched the children play in the yard, I thought that they would help take away a serious mood before it started. They were making plenty of noise running around, and I saw more than a few smiles directed their way. At one point I saw #5 and #6 had a new friend by the hand and were leading her through the yard and into the house, showing her around like they owned the place. Pat was happy with the children, and I know Art would have been too.
It was dark before we left Art and Pat’s house. I don’t think I will ever be able to just call it just Pat’s house, for Art’s memory will always be there for me. And it is a loving memory.
Ghosts, ghouls, and goblins, it must be Halloween again; or at least it was last Wednesday. And our children would not be left out of the seasonal sweets. They were ready for Trick-or-Treats the first week of October. I remember coming home to a throng of children, all clambering over one another to be the first to show me their new costumes.
But Wife would not be out done by her children. I do believe she gets more excited then the they do. If they ever catch up to her speed, Lord help me!
Back to the costumes… I was seated while Wife dressed the kids and sent them in one by one to get my approval. As if I would ever say anything unsavory about the outfits. The children were happy, Wife was excited, that made me cheerful. With as pleased as they all were, Wife could have wrapped up the baby in a brown blanket and declared him to be a meat-ball and I would not have criticized it. Of course Wife has much better taste than that, so I’ll never have to worry.
After the fashion-show it was hard for the children. All the costumes were promptly taken off and place on Wife’s shelf for the next twenty-seven days. This was difficult for some of the girls whose primary distraction is to play dress-up, and their newest outfits were unavailable. But the month flew by faster than they realized. Before they knew it, it was Halloween.
I must confess, I have absolutely no idea what trouble Wife goes through to dress up seven. Yes, she costumes them all, even the baby. I do understand it is better for my health to be nice to her after the ordeal. With that said, we met in town to begin the night’s festivities. What better way to celebrate Halloween than to go to church?
We attended the All Saints Day vigil. A strange sight to see all the children in Mass wearing colorful costumes instead of their usual Sunday best. After we made time for God, we made time for candy.
Our church put on a nice event. The short of it was, anyone who wanted could give out Trick-or-Treats in the church’s parking lot for the local children. For us, whose closest neighbor is a quarter mile away, it made Trick-or-Treats a pleasurable and possible experience. Not only did our children get their share of candy, but I got a share of their candy.